Organic Groups (OG) is the social networking solution for Drupal. It forms the basis of http://groups.drupal.org and also powers Drupal Commons, the widely used social networking distribution.
OG allows users to create and manage their own groups. Other members can then join those groups and share content either privately or publicly.
Two notes of caution before we start:
Here's an introduction to OG for Drupal 7. Click here for our tutorial on Organic Groups for Drupal 6.
Step 1: Install the Modules
You'll need to download and install these four modules:
Organic Groups won't work without those modules, but to make use of OG you'll certainly need these modules too:
When you visit the modules page to enable modules, make sure to enable all of the Organic group submodules.
After enabling the modules, you'll see a message saying "The content access permissions need to be rebuilt." Click "Rebuild permissions" and follow through the steps until the process is finished.
Step 2: Creating the Content
Here's the key thing to understand about Organic Groups: they are entirely based on Drupal's nodes.
The groups themselves are nodes and the content shared inside the groups are nodes. When you set up a new content type, you can decide whether nodes in that content type become groups or content within groups.
In this example we're going to build a social networking site for a school. We're going to allow parents and helpers to organize into groups.
Now let's create some content for our groups.
Step 3: Views
Currently we have no real information or layout for any of our group pages. We need to use Views and then Panels before our social networking site will take shape.
Go to Structure > Views and you'll see that four different views are already in place. These views will form the building blocks of your group pages.
Step 4: Panels
Now that we have our content and views, we can put them together using Panels.
From this point onwards, there is still a lot of work to do in order to create a social site, but hopefully the principles are now clear. The process of getting OG setup is Content > Views > Panels.